Foreign Minister slams inquiry into rule of law, as parliament committee discusses findings in Brussels
Hot on the heels of Viktor Orban's re-election in Hungary, the country's rule of law and fundamental rights have been under scrutiny again in Brussels.
This, as campaigners vented their views about Budapest's politics outside the European Parliament.
"This is a general crackdown on anybody who raises opposition or anybody who rejects the government's view," said Iverna McGovern, from Amnesty International.
"We really cant lose that perspective. And that's why we are standing in solidarity with all of our colleagues in civil society today."
A parliament committee's been discussing an inquiry report into Hungary, with Budapest's reforms said to be undermining democracy and weakening the media.
Judith Sargentini, Dutch MEP and rapporteur, commented: "Newspapers have been closed, civil society has difficulty functioning, because the government wants to control where they get the money from.
'People are less free to say what they think'
"Judges have been sent with early retirement, a university is closing down and if you add all of that up, you see an enormous change in atmosphere in a country, where people are less free to say what they think."
Hungary risks facing Article 7, which could ultimately strip it of its voting rights. But the country's foreign minister says the inquiry report is full of lies.
"In the LIBE committee there is a politically motivated staged trial against Hungary, where everything counts, except the facts and the reality," Péter Szijjártó told Euronews.
"If you read this report, which Miss Sargentini submitted to the committee, you can see it's a collection of qualified lies."
Orban won a third straight term in power after a full-on anti-immigration campaign. Protesters took to the streets soon after.